Salesforce is undeniably the global market leader in CRM (Customer Relationship Management) with 9.3 million jobs and $1.6 trillion in new business revenue predicted to be generated within the Salesforce ecosystem by 2026. It’s easy to see why getting your foot in the door now is a strategic career move.

As more and more businesses adopt Salesforce as their chosen CRM solution, the demand for qualified Salesforce developers to customise and maintain those systems increases.

With this rate of growth showing no signs of slowing down, Salesforce have a real focus on creating accessible pathways into the ecosystem, particularly for those taking a non-traditional route in to tech. One of the many resources available is Trailhead, Salesforce’s learning platform, which makes it easy to get started teaching yourself the platform. You can also sign up for a free developer edition of Salesforce and create Salesforce ‘Playgrounds’ via Trailhead to gain hands-on experience within the platform and try your ideas out. 

The Salesforce Platform supports declarative programming, which is a form of configuration via a point-and-click interface. It’s highly recommended to utilise this functionality where possible as it’s generally quicker to build your product, easier to maintain and avoids code coverage requirements. Declarative programming is a great place to start understanding the platform if you are new to it.

However, to extend functionality for more complex business processes, highly customised user interfaces and integration with other systems, this will require you to delve deeper in to the programmatic side of things. Here is where it will help to have a solid background in an object-oriented language as Salesforce uses Apex, a proprietary language similar to Java. 

If completely self-directed learning isn’t for you, Salesforce also offer various programs and courses to help you work your way towards becoming a certified developer. One of these on offer, the Pathfinder Program, was how I found my way in to the Salesforce ecosystem.

The Salesforce Pathfinder Program is a workforce development program created by Salesforce. The program is aimed at anyone looking to transition to a career in tech regardless of their background, demographics, or socioeconomic status. It’s designed to help you achieve your first Certification and land a role in the Salesforce ecosystem by the end of it. After spending 10 years working in a completely non-tech related industry, I found myself looking for a change and began studying web development part time in the evenings. As I was nearing the end of my studies, I was offered the opportunity to apply for the Pathfinder Program and was lucky enough to successfully make it in to the first UK-based cohort on the developer pathway.

As part of the 20-week program, we covered a range of topics, including data modelling and infrastructure, process automation, declarative development, apex and development best practises, Aura Components, Visualforce (Salesforce’s legacy UI experience) and Lightning Web Components, ending with an intensive week of technical training in programmatic development Using Apex and Visualforce through the Trailhead Academy.

Aside from the final week of technical training, most of this was offered as self-paced learning through Trailhead which is available for free to anyone willing to give it a go. I would give having access to Trailhead a lot of credit towards helping me achieve both the Platform Developer 1 and the Platform App Builder Certifications by the end of the Pathfinder Program.

Some resources I found useful:

  • Trailhead Beginner Developer Trail;
  • Focus on Force for certification prep;
  • Salesforce Community groups to connect with other people in your area and build your network;
  • And of course, check out the Ribbonfish blog for regular features and the latest hot tips on managing your org.

Signe Thomsen is a Salesforce Developer at Ribbonfish. A recent convert to the Salesforce ecosystem, she is interested in building efficient solutions to deliver highly useable experiences and has been working with Salesforce CPQ and Marketing Cloud. She is always on board to tackle a fresh challenge.

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Photo by © Ron Lach